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RE: Making a difference ??

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First, I would like to acknowledge the fact that I work with one of the
authors of this document. The following opinions are my own and are not
written on his behalf nor at his request. Although this issue annoyed me
the first time it came up, I let it pass. Now that it has come up a
second time, for no apparent reason other than an ego trip for the email
author, I would like to respond.


Wow, I guess this Steel Tips really got under your skin. While I applaud
your effort to make a difference, I would suggest that a modicum of
respect and professional courtesy might be in order. 

>From: GSKWY(--nospam--at)
>Subject: Making a difference ??
>To: seaint(--nospam--at)
>The issue of what anybody is doing to make a difference is kind of

>Based on my criticism of a Structural Steel Educational Council
publication,  I was contacted by a >member of SSEC and asked to be a
reviewer for their publications. The individual indicated that this
>would "benefit all engineers".  
>However I was expected to do this on a volunteer basis; the individual
indicated that all reviewers >were volunteers. This particular
individual worked for a steel producer, in other words, a steel
>producer was paying him to volunteer his time. But yet this individual
thought I might like to spend >my evenings and weekends helping to do
promotional work for the structural steel industry. This >individual was

I have found the Steel Tips series to be extremely useful aids and have
put the information they contain to much use. It's too bad that you are
not willing to donate your time and expertise, as many others do, to the
review of documents that will benefit others in your profession.
Actually, it was my impression that most technical journal review is
done on a volunteer basis as well. Maybe myself and other reviewers I
know are the only ones not getting subsidized by our firms to review

Regardless, I think you are missing the point of several other recent
threads on this list. The point was to get involved in order to promote
and assist our profession. Typically this involves volunteering to do
things. That is, actually doing things for free.

The SSEC publications are actually very useful publications, for two
reasons.  Number one, they are free. Number two, they are very good
examples of very bad engineering writing.

>To do my bit to make a difference, here are some selected sentences
from  "Notes on Design Of Steel >Parking Structures Including Seismic
Effects" by Lanny J. Flynn, P.E., S.E. and Abolhassan Astaneh->Asl,
Ph.D., P.E.  

Thanks Gail. Your efforts to elevate the quality of technical literature
in a professional manner are noted by all.

>Page 16 - "Internal stresses are reduced and better managed by
utilization of appropriately spaced >expansion joints, and construction
joints such as pour strips."
>Note: pour strips are not a type of construction joint. Nor are they a
type of expansion joint.

I would call an area of slab not poured with adjacent areas, a
construction joint. If this is not proper terminology, please educate

>Page 18 - "Concrete ingredients that are beyond the basic aggregates
cement and water are classified >as admixtures that require particular
formulation under the supervision and approval of the structure >design
>Note: cement and water are typically not considered aggregates. In
addition, the design engineer >typically does not formulate admixtures.

I would propose that this is common knowledge and that the hyphens are
typos. Anyone who reads this and interprets it the way you proposed has
no business designing anything in concrete. Additionally, the referenced
text does not say that the structure's design engineer formulates
admixtures. It says that they are formulated under the supervision and
approval of the structure's engineer. If you read the paragraph that
follows, I think the intent becomes clear. 

>Page 20 - "Make certain that the concrete is well compacted under the
top layer of reinforcing steel >to avoid steel settlement during the
concrete hardening. Concrete placed over settled bars is weak >and can
crack as a result."
>Note: reinforcing steel is usually supported on chairs. The compaction
of the concrete does not have >a major effect on "steel settlement." It
is also not clear why concrete placed over "settled bars" is >weak.

Can't help you here. I could assume the intent, but you know what they
say about assuming...

>Then there are these sentences (I have not added, deleted, or modified
any words):
>Page 14 - "To ensure long term durability of reinforced concrete decks
and to avoid corrosion, the >use of epoxy-coated."

Looks like a typo. Adding "rebar is suggested" to the end of the
sentence would fix it.

>Page 26 - "All of the above structural systems can be used in parking
structures with some being more >economical than others are park." 

Looks like another typo. Deleting "and park" would fix this one. 

>Given that the authors were described to me as being well respected in
the structural steel industry,  >I would be curious to see what someone
who is not well respected would write. The individual from >SSEC
indicated that all SSEC documents are reviewed, which makes this
document even more >embarrassing.
>In general, SSEC documents seem to be "pay by the pound" literature, a
type of literature made >popular by authors like John McPhee. I.e. the
authors are paid for the length of the document. They >get paid more if
they are able to expand 100 words into 500. Or expand three pages into
61. >Unfortunately, to do this sucessfully requires at least a modicum
(smidgen, dash, pinch) of writing >skill.

As I said before, I have used these documents often. Your statement, "In
general, these documents seem to be 'pay by the pound'", does alarm me.
Can you please expand on the technical errors in the other 40 or so
Steel Tips. You obviously must have read a majority of them to make such
a statement. Or since most are done for a very nominal fee, did you mean
that they are already much too long?

>But heck, the documents are available for free from the AISC web site,
so what is there to complain >about? 

Since this particular document bothers you so much, I suggest you
volunteer your time to write and publish a similar one that is free for
all to obtain. 

Just so you understand where I'm coming from, I don't think that it's
o.k. to publish material with errors, but typos happen. What I have a
problem with is how you handled it. Did you consider sending this
information to the SSEC? If you did, why send it here? You already made
your point on this before.  Please explain what you intended to
accomplish by revisiting this again. What is the new point? How are you
making a difference??


Heath Mitchell

P.S.  I am subscribed in digest mode, so please copy me directly with
any responses on this thread. Thank you.

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